NHL Picks: 2013 Hockey Future Odds & Value

David Schwab

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 12:24 PM GMT

Now that the puck is ready to drop, where can hockey bettors find the best futures value with their NHL picks? Find out which teams we believe are worth grabbing.

2013 Stanley Cup Futures Odds

It took over three months for the NHL owners and the NHL Players Association to iron out a new collective bargaining agreement, but a final-hour deal finally got done and the puck is ready to drop later this month on an abbreviated regular season. The following is a look at Bovada’s updated NHL odds to win this year’s Stanley Cup.

The Favorites

Even though half the NHL regular season has been cancelled, the work stoppage did little to adversely affect the Pittsburgh Penguins odds to win this year’s Stanley Cup title. Back in June they had been opened as 15/2 odds-on favorites to win it all. They slipped to 8/1 in early December while the labor dispute raged on and after a tentative agreement had been reached, the Penguins have remained 8/1 favorites to win it all. The reason is plain and simple; they are the most talented team in the league with a healthy Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin supplying the offensive firepower along with Marc-Andre Fleury tending the goal. The shortened season only plays to their strength with less wear and tear on the entire team.

A few of the other teams that could be considered legitimate favorites to win it all include the New York Rangers at 17/2, the Vancouver Canucks at 9/1, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings at 12/1 and the Philadelphia Flyers at 12/1. This easily makes the Atlantic the most competitive division in the league in what will be a sprint to the postseason. 

The Contenders 

The team at the top of the next tier of contenders is the Chicago Blackhawks at 14/1. This team struggled with consistency all last season to finish as the sixth-seed in the West but only 10 points separated them from the top spot in the conference. In a shortened season, the Blackhawks can close that gap if players such as Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharpe, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews can quickly return to form. Another key will be the play of goaltender Corey Crawford, who finished last season with a goals-against-average of 2.72 and a .903 save percentage. He will have to improve in both of these areas in order to help the Blackhawks bring home another Stanley Cup to the city of Chicago. 

The other teams that could hold great value for you NHL picks in this category are the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings at 16/1 and the Minnesota Wild at 18/1. The Wild made a major splash in free agency by signing both Zach Parise from New Jersey and Ryan Suter from Nashville.

The Longshots 

With so many rock-solid favorites and contenders combined with a substantially shortened regular season, the teams at the bottom of the list should have just one goal in mind; land one of the eight available spots in the postseason. In the NHL all you need to do is get into the Stanley Cup Tournament as anything can happen from there. The team that probably has the best value at its current odds is the Carolina Hurricanes at 22/1. This past June when Bovada released its initial Stanley Cup futures odds for this season, the Hurricanes opened at 40/1. They slipped to 12th in the East last season and have not qualified for the playoffs since 2008/2009, but an influx of talent including forward Jordan Staal and defenseman Joe Corvo to go along with a solid goaltender in Cam Ward puts Carolina in position for a break-out season. The key will be a fast start in a suddenly watered-down Southeast Division. 

A couple of other teams with the longest odds but the best chance to outperform them are the New Jersey Devils at 30/1 and the Ottawa Senators at 40/1 in the East. In the Western Conference, keep an eye out for the Edmonton Oilers, who opened at 35/1 but are currently listed at 25/1 on the most recent board.